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Lord of the Rings: The Board Game Anniversary Edition Announced

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07 Jul 2020 15:59 #311753 by ubarose
First published in 2000, The Lord of the Rings: The Board...

The classic Knizia co-op retyrns to print.

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07 Jul 2020 16:18 #311754 by Jackwraith
Hmmm. First off: It's been 20 years? Ye gods. It doesn't seem like "yesterday" that this appeared, but it doesn't seem like 20 years, either.

I question the upgrades, in part, because I had the original with both expansions and there was no "cardboard standee" for Sauron. One of the most attractive non-John Howe parts of the game was the black column with the red Eye that was the Sauron figure. Did that come in one of the expansions and I'm just not remembering? And it seems like there were hobbit figures, too, but I have no clear memory of that.

But, overall... meh. I'm a Knizia fan and an LotR fan. But this one just never sold me. I loved the design concept, in that it pretty faithfully recreated much of the story and the tension inherent to trying to destroy the Ring while the Eye gets closer and closer. It's a Knizia, so it's a smart application. But there was never as much "game" there as I usually expect from his stuff (Modern Art, T&E, Amun-Re, etc.) It was mostly just drawing tiles and dealing with the inevitable poor draw. There's probably some of my bias against co-ops lurking in my reaction to it, as well.
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07 Jul 2020 18:02 #311756 by jpat
I think it's fine to put this game out there again, but I think FFG was probably ill-advised to create the expectation among the nerdly that this was somehow a definitive edition when it's clearly not. At most, it's sort of a sideways upgrade straddling the compact and totally fine but not deluxe Silver Line edition with the bigger-box predecessors that had not so great player minis but the cool Sauron figure. Not including the expansions is smart from a mass market perspective but would obviously be expected for a definitive edition. I have the Silver Line, which will always hold sentimental value to me because my wife proposed to me by subbing in the ring she'd bought for the One Ring (which confused the heck out of me, I'll tell you), and I have the older FFG version with Friends and Foes and Battlefields (not Sauron), though I haven't played the latter, so I'm not really the target audience here.
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07 Jul 2020 18:40 #311757 by ubarose
I think the cardboard was the most recent prior version. I believe their first edition had a nice chunky ring in it as well, but I’d have to check what I have and which edition it is, and I don’t feel like going up two flights of stairs to do it.
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07 Jul 2020 18:50 #311758 by Michael Barnes
This game blows War of the Ring out of the water in terms of expressing the themes and subject matter of LOTR. War of the Ring is the better game for adding additional detail to the martial events that happen in the peripheral. What makes this game really great is how there are so many things that are one-use, so many things that advance corruption, and the inevitability that players have to weigh sacrifices versus the possibility for future situations. It's a game that REALLY captures the wear and tear of the Fellowship and eventually the hobbits toward the end- the Mordor board is almost always a hopeless proposition - you are out of almost everything but luck by that point and the few resources you have are painful to let go of. And eventually, someone has to die to save everyone else. The themes here- sacrifice, corruption, making the most of the time, striving against impossible situations- are what LOTR is about. LOTR is not about shuffling armies around a map and taking over Rivendell with Uruk-Hai.

But yeah, what a whiff by not making this an all-in-one release. I'd gladly pay $100 for a very lightly updated all-in-one premium package. Friends & Foes is -essential- to the game, and the Bree/Isengard board completes the story. It also adds one time powers for each of the hobbits, which means another do-or-die resource. Sauron was good but WAY too hard with a human Sauron player...but that expansion added some good stuff (including the all-important black bag for the tiles). Battlefields was...interesting. I'm somewhat of the opinion that Knizia didn't actually finish it or that he repurposed another fledgling design to make it because it kind of doesn't really fit with the rest of the design. It turns the battles into these odd flowchart-like affairs. It's definitely interesting, and I've come to like it a lot more over the years than I did to start with, but it's still a strange addition.

But why couldn't all of these be put together for a deluxe, definitive 20th anniversary edition?

The black column (one of gaming's greatest pieces) is in the base game.
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07 Jul 2020 19:12 #311760 by ubarose
Here’s a picture showing the original components and the most recent prior version components. (Not my photo, I nicked it off BGG)
Attachments:
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07 Jul 2020 19:33 #311761 by ChristopherMD
Missed opportunity to release a Deluxe Edition of the base game plus friends&foes in honor of the anniversary. F&F, iirc, is one more board and some cards. A lot of people would even re-purchase to replace their old copies. I've never known anyone to like using Sauron and have never tried Battlefields so those I wouldn't consider essential or reprint-worthy.

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07 Jul 2020 20:17 #311762 by jeb
Hmm. Mine had the standees for the players, but had Sauron wedge and the fat ring. How many versions of this did they make?

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07 Jul 2020 21:55 #311763 by Sagrilarus

jeb wrote: Hmm. Mine had the standees for the players, but had Sauron wedge and the fat ring. How many versions of this did they make?


I have an '07 Kia Sedona with '06 headlights in it. You may have gotten what was lying around the warehouse.
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08 Jul 2020 04:38 #311772 by Matt Thrower

Michael Barnes wrote: This game blows War of the Ring out of the water in terms of expressing the themes and subject matter of LOTR.


As a dedicated Tolkien nerd, can I just say: GTFO with sprinkles on.

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08 Jul 2020 08:43 - 08 Jul 2020 16:26 #311775 by southernman
I have the Parker/HASBROS original edition with minis and plastic Sauron, along with Friends & Foes and Sauron (with the Black Rider mini) expansions, and I will sell my soul and agree pretty much with everything Mikey Barnes said about presenting the real story and atmosphere of the books ... to all you Middle Earth exiles - pffffft.

I will have to say that playing the Sauron expansion with a full compliment of Hobbits is the best experience this game can produce (with his-evilness playing Sauron of course), making each Hobbit call Sauron at the beginning of their turn just to inflict more stress on them :lol: . And those Dark event tiles ... nasty.

And reading/using the expanded rules document by Chris Lawson is recommended for Middle Earthings.
Unfortunately I don't know enough gamers who like co-ops or this game to get it played much.

So, yeah, sounds like a pretty average 20th Anniversary effort.
Last edit: 08 Jul 2020 16:26 by southernman.
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08 Jul 2020 10:30 #311779 by dysjunct

Matt Thrower wrote:

Michael Barnes wrote: This game blows War of the Ring out of the water in terms of expressing the themes and subject matter of LOTR.


As a dedicated Tolkien nerd, can I just say: GTFO with sprinkles on.


As another dedicated Tolkien nerd, I think Barnes is right and can ... stay ... and remove the sprinkles?

The themes of LOTR are friendship, endurance, and sacrifice. The Knizia game really nails this. WOTR has some aspect of this (corruption track, some of the cards) but overwhelms this with the strategic military aspect. And of course the Sauron player doesn’t engage any of those themes at all, except in opposition.

That said, I think WOTR is a much better game. There’s more interesting decisions, it’s more dynamic and less reactive, and there’s just a lot more going on. But as a Tolkien experience, Knizia is superior.
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08 Jul 2020 14:03 #311784 by Gregarius
I'm very happy with my original edition with F&F. I used to have Sauron, but gave it away to a friend because I didn't like playing with a Sauron player.

What's amazing to me about the 20 years since this came out is the change of attitude towards co-op games. Aside from Sherlock Holmes, Consulting Detective (which isn't much of a "board" game), I think this was the first ever cooperative game. I remember debates at the time about whether it even *counted* as a "game" since there were no winners! It was a radical design shift that I don't think Knizia gets enough credit for. Sure, Pandemic went gangbusters and brought it mainstream, but The Dr. was there first.
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